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Eight Haunted Historic Hotels: Sleepless Nights Guaranteed

Earlier this month, a couple hundred hoteliers gathered for a talk by acclaimed travel journalist Peter Greenberg who offered humorous, personal anecdotes from his travels as well as advice about how to promote and market the distinct benefits of historic hotels. One thing NOT to promote, he said? The supernatural—poltergeists, ghosts, haunts, and spooks. 

I say “boo” to that, and not in the scary way either. 

Sure, the notion of haunted hotels has been done to death, but who doesn’t love a little paranormal intrigue, especially this time of year? It is in that spirit that we partner with our friends at Historic Hotels of America to round up a partial list of the country's most haunted hotels. 

1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa - Eureka Springs, Arkansas

The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa harbors a wide variety of spirits, and touts itself as “America’s Most Haunted Hotel.” During construction of the hotel one of the stone masons plunged to his death, landing in what is now guestroom 218. This room proves to be the most paranormally active location in the hotel and has attracted television film crews for decades because of the quantity and quality of the ghost sightings. Guests have witnessed hands coming out of the bathroom mirror, cries of a falling man in the ceiling, and the door opening then slamming shut, unable to be opened again. 

The Red Lion Inn (1773) - Stockbridge, Massachusetts


Ghostly rumors continue to swirl at the Red Lion, which has been visited by scads of paranormal investigators and mediums. The most supernatural activity occurs on the fourth floor, where both cleaning staff and guests have seen a "ghostly young girl carrying flowers" and "a man in a top hat." Guests report waking to the feeling of someone standing over them at the foot of the bed. Cold spots, unexplained knocks, and electrical disturbances have all been reported. When you go, ask to stay in room 301, one of the most haunted rooms in the hotel. 

The Stanley (1909) - Estes Park, Colorado


Famous for being the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s The Shining, the Stanley has been the location of apparent hauntings since the 1950s. In 1911, the hotel’s chief housekeeper was injured in an explosion that blew her from what is now guestroom 217 to the floor of the MacGregor Room one story below. Guests staying in 217 report receiving extra housekeeping services, including having their things put away or unpacked. 

Omni Shoreham Hotel (1930) - Washington, D.C.


Known affectionately by staff members as “the princess,” Caroline Foster is a long-time inhabitant of the Omni Shoreham—even though she died in 1939. Princess Caroline Foster’s ties to the resort go back to its inception when her husband, railroad tycoon Joseph Stickney, built the grand resort in 1902. Today, guests report visions of an elegant woman in Victorian dress haunting the hallways of the hotel. The most common sighting is in room 314, where Caroline’s ghost is often seen sitting at the edge of the bed—the same custom-made four-post bed she shared with her husband.

Other haunted historic hotels you may want to consider the next time you are hoping for a sleepless night: 

Lord Baltimore Hotel (1928) - Baltimore, Maryland
Haunted by the ghost of a girl wearing a long, cream-colored dress and black, shiny shoes. 

The Omni Grove Park Inn (1913) - Asheville, North Carolina
Haunted by the ghost of a young woman who was a guest in the 1920s and is believed to have plunged to her death in the Palm Court. 

The Sagamore (1930) - Bolton Landing, New York
Haunted by the ghost of a woman said to have been murdered by the wife of the man with whom she was having an affair. 

La Fonda on the Plaza (1922) - Santa Fe, New Mexico
Check out Lauren Walser's story on haunting at the La Fonda. 

By Dennis Hockman. Dennis is editor in chief of Preservation magazine. He’s lived in historic apartments and houses all over the United States and knows that all old buildings have stories to tell if you care to find them. 

Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation

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